Lesotho: Put the Country Before Your Interests

PRIME Minister Thomas Thabane recently announced that the government intends to construct a sports complex in Lepereng, Maseru in preparation for next year's Region 5 Games.

Dubbed Maseru 2020, the games will see 10 African Union Sports Council (ASUC) members competing in 11 sporting codes.

The construction, which is expected to be completed in October 2020, will see the government injecting M2, 4 billion into the project that comprises of a 20 000-seater football stadium and a 3000-seater indoor arena to accommodate 41 sporting codes.

This is great news for the country's sporting fraternity considering that for a long time, sportspersons have lamented the lack of facilities. This has been one of the major drawbacks hindering the growth of local sports.

As part of the preparations for the games, a new students' residential unit will also be constructed. This will accommodate 3000 people and will be used as a games' village next year.

The premier said the facility would be extended to 40 000 capacity after next year's games.

Whilst I applaud the government for coming up with this good initiative, my worry remains this project may suffer the same fate as the High-Performance Centre in Thaba-Putsoa, Ha-Rapolokana which lies desolate after several years.

In 2013, the country also hosted the COSAFA Cup Under-20, prior to which multiple promises were made but most never say the light of day. The committee for the games even failed to account for the M10 million (before the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee). The money was meant for the construction of the grounds for the games which in the end were supposed to be the country's legacy afterwards.

I just hope this time around, would be different and those in charge of the project will ensure its success instead of lining their pockets.

The AUSC Games along with the 2022 African Youth Games, will leave a legacy that can help our athletes with world class facilities to train in so that they can also make an impact on the continental and world stages.

Maybe once we have proper infrastructure, it would be easy to invite international televisions to broadcast our activities thereby making it easier to lure the corporate sector to invest in sports.

We should not only wait until the country hosts such games before we see this kind of developments. The government should make it a priority to see that we have infrastructure around the country to nurture our abundant talent.

Before I bow out let me congratulate our senior national soccer team, Likuena for advancing to the next phase of the CHAN qualifiers following their 6-2 drubbing of bitter rivals Bafana Bafana.

Leslie Notši's charges registered a 3-2 win at home a fortnight ago before dismissing their opponents 0-3 at Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto.

No one gave Likuena a chance over their hoodoo team but they had a good game plan which frustrated their opponents and they ended up making mistakes which cost them.

Likuena's next match will be a World Cup qualifier against Ethiopia in the first weekend of September and they face another hoodoo team, Zimbabwe in the next phase of the CHAN qualifiers.

It is positive that our side can now score as this has always been our biggest weakness.

Best of luck gents in the next matches!

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